Message from Squicken. He thinks he wants to go to college … eventually.
Happy Summer – from Squicken
Japan Trip – Glass Making
A day after the funeral, we decided to do something creative to cheer us up.
My GF’s friend, Seri, set up the glass making class for me.
My cheek hurt … it’s hard to get the bubble going, but once you do, then it gets easier.
CLICK HERE for Michael Helms – Glass Making Video
I decided to make a bowl. I chose a kind of teal color with a red rim. Here we are shaping it a bit before blowing again to enlarge it.
Here I’m expanding the opening in the bubble to create a bowl. It takes a little pressure at first and getting the bowl perfectly round is tricky.
Still expanding the bubble to form the bowl while the glass is red hot. Then I changed the angle of the tongs to flare the top of the bowl a bit.
In these last two photos, you can see the finished bowl. It has a bubble in the glass, a flaw but some glass blowers think of it as character and leave them in. I like the “flaw”.
Also…my bowl isn’t perfectly symmetrical, but
again, I like it. Gives it character.
Acting Class in Vegas
This would be exciting.
On Monday, April 29th, Michael Helms will be in Vegas to help his good friend, Charlie Schlatter’s on-camera class, so their students will have great lookin’ footage!
Come meet us – and Squicken “may be” there.
This is the first time for us to be teaching in Las Vegas.
The head shot!
I suppose it’s a good thing that after 37 years of shooting head shots for actors, that I still enjoy it. I attribute this to the fact that I find people endlessly fascinating and what better place to be a head shot photographer than in Los Angeles! I get all sorts of fascinating characters through my photo studio and I sometimes think it should be a sit com.
In the past, an actor would get a recommendation from his Agent or manager for what head shot photographer to go visit. Usually an actor would meet with four or five photographers, look at their portfolios, check out the studio, and choose who they felt would be the best for the images they needed. This decision making process was good for everyone, actor and photographer alike although it required the photographer to sit through hours of seemingly endless and unnecessary recitations of resumes.
While I understand the concept that an actor wants the photographer to capture a certain essence, it has little bearing on whether or not that actor will actually book a job. The reason for this is that very very few actors see their casting. Every actor has an idea of the roles they want to play in film, commercials, or on stage but very few actors understand that it is a business and they will be cast according to how they look to a casting office.
An example of this would be a girl who came to my studio for head shots and she handed me photos of fashion models and proclaimed,”I want photos like these!”. What amused me was that MY idea of her casting was that she would be prefect in a role as a midwest farmers wife…perhaps pulling a plow. Suffice it to say she was NOT in shape for Victoria’s Secret.
Agents in Los Angeles have lists of head shot photographers that they recommend and I am fortunate to be on almost all of those lists. So, it presented me with a challenge, because, knowing her agent, if I shot images the agent liked, she would be unhappy but if I shot images she liked, the agent would be displeased.
I suggested to her that she show her agent what wonderful versatility she had as an actress. I told her she should shoot some rather plain images, then we could add more makeup and fluff her hair for more sexy images. She reluctantly agreed.
A week went by and I got a call from her and I winced as I asked her how she liked her photos. This was in the days of film so it would take a few days to process. She told me she was really happy with “some of them but some of the others she liked less”. I asked her if she had shown them to her agent and she frustratingly replied,”YES…and you won’t believe what he said to me. He said he liked the plain ones and could use those but the pretty shots he didn’t like. He said to me, these are pretty but I can’t use them because you aren’t pretty!”
“Yikes!” I responded,”What did you do!?”
“Well, I’m looking for another agent!” she growled.
I have had actors in my studio who did their best to imitate Robert DeNiro, sexy women who wanted to play “smart” roles, nerdy looking guys who wanted to be James Bond, and the aforementioned chubette who wanted to be Cindy Crawford.
When an actor walks through my doors, I know in the first minute how I am going to light him. I already know what roles he will get. I already know, after years doing head shots in Los Angeles, how an actor will be marketed. But it is not my job to make those decisions but rather to provide and actor with what type of photos HE/SHE wants. I make suggestions, I talk it over with all my clients, I can tell them what wardrobe I think will work, and I can let each individual know what the trends in head shots are current, but ultimately every actor needs to do their homework and see this as a business and realize they are a product and how best to market that product.
The idea is to have a head shot that gets you called in to a casting that, when you arrive and look around the casting office, you see actors who are in the same category. You don’t want to look around and see people who are 40 years older.
If an actor looks at TV, film, and commercials and identifies characters that “look like” him, he will know how to dress for a photo shoot. Basically an actor needs a smiling head shot for commercials and a more serious shot for theatrical purposes. Nothing more.
Casting offices generally know what type they are going to choose for any given role, so if you got a call, you have a shot!
The rest is up to you!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Today’s Odd Journey
I flew hang gliders for about 34 years but officially retired about 6 years ago. It was a sad day and I miss flying terribly. Today I drove over to the place where all the hang gliders land.
Soon as we exchanged greetings my friend Joe offered,”Hey wanna fly this glider?” and I said “Nah, I don’t have a harness” then another pilot/friend, Fred volunteered,”I’ve got a harness”. Me,”I don’t have a helmet”. Fred,”I have a helmet, too!”
Next thing I knew, I was headed up the mountain with a truck load of fellow flyers. We quickly set up our flying machines then ran off the mountain into the beautiful sky. I visited places a few miles away that I hadn’t seen in a long time and watched as a Red Tailed Hawk circled in an updraft hundreds of feet below me.
So many memories from hundreds of hours floating thousands of feet above the Earth were flooding my brain.
One particular memory was meeting my dear friend, Wayne Yentis. I met Wayne 25 years ago in the hang gliding landing zone (LZ). He was a tall lanky man with a twinkle in his eye and was most probably the brightest individual I have ever met. Truly a renaissance man… he was an artist, a photographer, an electrical engineer, a musician, a computer genius, an inventor (of the Clavitar) and a host of other things. He knew more about more than anyone I have ever known. Wayne had a recording studio in his house and was constantly sending me files of music he had written, played, and produced. Beautiful music.
One particular day I was in his studio and we were having a beer…or two…or many… and I got this goofy idea to take Karaoke music and substitute hang gliding lyrics. It was utterly silly stuff that made no sense to anyone other than another hang glider pilot but in our compromised condition, it seemed a marvelous plan.
I said to Wayne “How about “I got VG?” as I sang the tune of “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher. He beer giggled.
For non-hanglider pilots, VG stands for “Variable Geometry” and refers to a string a hang glider pilot can pull that changes the shape of the wing in flight.
Then I started singing “On the Road Again” just like Willie Nelson, except I sang “In the Air Again.”
More beer giggles as Wayne recorded and mixed it.
The following week, I played one of our recordings for a fellow pilot who unwittingly believed we were serious and asked for a copy of it! Nothing feeds a gag like having an audience so I drove back to Wayne’s house with more beer, more Karaoke, and more silly lyrics. We recorded 15 songs, 12 of which made our cut onto the “Pelican Tunes” CD. When word got out, the local pilots bought them like hotcakes, then the Editor of Hang Gliding Magazine somehow got his paws on a CD and gave it a rave review in the international magazine! We were amused that pilots enjoyed the absurdity and got the jokes. Orders started coming in and we sold this CD all over the world. That was over 7 years ago.
Today after about an hour of flight, I touched down and chatted with the guys in the LZ, when one of them mentioned “Pelican Tunes” had been used in a video of the European Hang Gliding Championships. I was shocked to say the least. SO…I did what any irresponsible gag writer would do, I Googled it…and wow….there it was…
I seriously considered doing “Pelican Tunes 2” but Wayne Yentis passed away this Wednesday January 23rd, and with the passing of my partner in crime, my motivation is gone. The lyrics in my desk drawer will have to collect dust as the ink fades.
But have a beer and enjoy our goofy time together on YouTube.
Here’s to Wayne.
Video: Squicken’s restless leg syndrome!
We are having a lot of fun here in LA … between actors’ headshot shooting!
Photography Workshop – Saturday, January 26, 2013
For one day only – Sign Up today – CLICK HERE
Happy New Year –
For LA Actors-
Actors Headshot special!
How many actors can you name in this photo?